One night, while working as a patrol officer, Brian Quittner was writing a ticket. He was trying to hold his flashlight under one arm so he could see what he was writing and then the flashlight slipped, fell and broke, leaving him in an awkward situation. He said the classic phrase of the inventor, "There has got to be a better way," and the next day created his hands-free mobile light source.
Quittner's device can be worn around the neck and uses LED light, which doesn't interrupt night vision, meaning your eyes don't need to readjust, helping officers stay alert and perceptive in potentially dangerous situations. He has been selling his Quiqlite since 2000 to police officers and security guards worldwide.
When Brian and Rachel Quittner had their third child, Rachel wanted an easy way to check on her children without turning on the lights and potentially waking them up. She grabbed her husband's Quiqlite and soon realized this was a perfect product for moms.
Soon the Quittners were redesigning and repackaging the product for moms. The Babeebrite even includes a built in timer so moms won't waste the batteries if they fall asleep.
The Quittners also realized that the product would be great for health care providers also not wanting to wake up patients - the Night Nurse - and for travelers wanting to read but not wanting to wake up the travelers sitting next to them - the Bookbrite. So far they have been successful in selling all four variations of the same product to different markets.
When you can find another use for your invention, you in effect create a whole new product for a new target market, but at the same time, you have already done much of the work for product development and probably your patent or other intellectual property protection will still protect you. Additionally catalogs and retailers will be more likely to pick up a product that has been successful, even if for a different market. If you can find new markets for your product as is, or modified, you can make money on your invention two, three or four times over. In fact, your product may sell better for a use you never envisaged when you invented it.
Think about different ways to use your invention, give it to friends and family and see if anyone can come up with another good use for your product. Your real success may lie in a completely new market.